Wednesday, August 24, 2011


At this point I figure that there are probably only a couple of people in the USA who don't know that there were two earthquakes in the lower 48 yesterday. And I'm thinking it's because they're hiking somewhere and forgot to bring their cell phones with them. Certainly it's been the only thing people around here have been talking about for the last 30 or so hours."Hi. Can I get a small americano with room?" "Sure. That'll be $1.75. Does your house have new cracks in it?" It wasn't my first earthquake, but it was the first one I experienced that couldn't be mistaken for a truck driving past my window. Our office dynamics at 1:50 yesterday were pretty comical in retrospect so I'm going to share.
First though, there are some things you should understand about my office. Our marketing and booking office is on the second floor of a building that must have been constructed around the turn of the century downtown. The room itself is a big open thing with desks lining walls so that there's a blanks space for us to banter across throughout the workday. There are are seven of us: three marketing people, two bookers, our arty guy and the boss. The window just to the left of my desk looks directly into the office across a five-foot alley and our shenanigans have caused them to permanently close their blinds.
I had thought that yesterday would be a normal albeit busy day, but apparently that's what I get for thinking. Half of my co-workers had just started the post-lunch email check when the first rumbles hit the city. When the desk started to shake my thoughts spiked into nanosecond conversations that went something like this,
"what in the world? Is that an earthquake?"
"Seriously? What are you thinking? This is the East Coast. There are no earthquakes here."
And then when the building started to sway me off my feet. "Holy (don't tell mom what I thought there) this is the real thing."
Parallel to this internal debate was the verbal exchange in our office. When the ceiling started rattling, our boss immediately piped up with, "is someone on the roof?" Assuming that some random workman was traipsing across our building, she went out to the porch and started yelling up to the sky, "Helloooo?" By this time the two guys in the office were scrambling down the stairs in a mad fury (they both claim they would have elbowed little old ladies out of their way if it had come to that) to get to out of what is now being affectionately termed "that death trap shanty" and I, with my northwestern but untested training booked it to the nearest doorway only to look up and realize that the beam I was standing under was basically just a hall and I was sure to die anyway. As soon as it was over all the pale office workers blinked their bewildered way onto the sidewalks and asked the ubiquitous, "did you feel that?" Basically, there was a bit of Mayhem, and since I promised to share songs that I like along with these posts, that'll have to be the one. It's been on a loop in my head ever since the great east coast quake of '11.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


When I first met Rachel I certainly didn't think that we would share a bottle of Port in my living room almost ten years later. But that is only because I didn't meet her myself. She ran through the pre-packaged group introductions when she visited our house for dinner my freshman year, but I didn't give it a second thought. Two days later I didn't even remember her name. She was simply "that tall, blond, green-eyed beauty that Isaiah brought to dinner that night" (as we girls territorially described her). Fortunately, our unique household brand of nerdiness was not off-putting to her and she kept coming around. When I was a Junior living off campus she became our honorary roommate so that we could come to our weekly house dinners where there were no boys, guests and no exceptions allowed, except for Rachel who joined us nearly every week. After we graduated she took a job on the other side of the country in Baltimore, and a year later I flew off to my adventure in Germany, but we stayed in tough via a letter that cycled from Baltimore to Germany to the third leg of our triangle in Seattle, Mari. When the envelope arrived we would each add our own letter to the package and send it along ala The Sisterhood Of The Traveling pants, but we didn't think of it like that.
By the time I eventually landed on the East Coast Rachel had moved on to graduate school and I had missed her by just that much. Since I'd recovered from my homesickness and gotten out of practice we stopped writing altogether, and didn't talk again until last fall when Rachel emailed to say that she would be in DC for a conference. Feeling proud of my grown-up life and eager to show it off I told her she had to stay with me (forgetting in my enthusiasm about being a good hostess that I only have a 1 bedroom apartment) and so in February after a flurry of texts clarifying my address as 11 1/2 which is between 11 and 15, she arrived for the weekend. I showed her my tiny town, my frozen back yard, the crepe store, the concert venue where I work and then we went home and talked and talked. Then, once we'd passed through the usual, "how is life/school/your romantic life?" questions we chatted about music. It's a common, and to me, thoroughly enjoyable game of "have you heard?" This is a rare game for me to play comfortably because my musical upbringing was primarily classical so I am still learning the words to common classics from the likes of Led Zeppelin and The Kinks and when you're in my line of work your expected to just know these things. Youtube and google have become very good friends of mine. But Rachel was wonderful to talk music with, and in fact, she introduced me to a spectacular song by the wonderful The Head And The Heart, which makes me want to cry when I listen to it on repeat. When I listen to it in single servings I think of home, of the friends who will still be on my mind in ten years, naturally of Rachel.

A New Project

I've just been reading A Homemade Life. I began consuming this little treasure well over a year ago (closer to two, if I allow honesty to overcome embarrassment in my calculations) after attending a book signing with my sister in Washington DC. But I let life, and to my shame Netflix, get in the way of finishing it and the edges of the pages had begun to turn sepia on my bookshelf until, in a fit of determination to enjoy the humidity of an evening on my back porch, I rescued it from its dusty fate.
Sarah had long been an Orangette evangelist, explaining that once you begin reading her recipes and stories, you can't help but call the author by her first name as though you've known Molly personally for many years. Even more than gaining an imaginary friend, I've again become inspired to actually try to get a salad bowl worthy of the Fennel Salad with Asian Pear, and to pinky-finger-dust between the rows of the keyboard and begin writing again. Of course, the natural danger of sending my thoughts on their merry way throughout the internet is that I'll fall into verbal nausea: spewing my thoughts without purpose or plan; unleashing the hours of silence that comes with living alone on an unarmed audience, and that would be just indulgent. So, in keeping with my daily consumption of music at work and the realization that my days are accompanied by a soundtrack, I'll do what dozens (maybe even hundreds or thousands) have done before me and share the songs background my life and the stories that accompany them.